While we were paying the bill in Pizza Express on our second wedding anniversary recently, the waitress, who until that point had been sweet enough, efficient, but nobody you would particularly remember, asked, ‘When are you due?’
Now the first time this happened to me, and for a few times subsequently, I was a little taken aback. It was the first time that a stranger had noticed my pregnancy. But after that, and as I began to show more and more, it became more normal and actually really rather nice.
Back to the oh-so-glamorous pizza restaurant (we know how to live!) and we had a lovely chat with the waitress about how my pregnancy had been, whether we knew what we were having, and she told us about her two pregnancies and how much she loved her children.
As we left, Mr M said ‘It’s like being in a new club, isn’t it, now that you’re expecting?’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked. He explained that whereas when we went out before, people wouldn’t really notice us, and would leave us to our night out, now, all other parents want to talk to you and to find out about ‘the bump’.
‘I feel a bit like a celebrity at the moment,’ he laughed. He has quite an ego that one!
But he is right in a funny way. And in a way I’ve never experienced before, people kind of think that if you are pregnant, they can easily come up and chat to you, as if they kind of know you already.
It’s the same at pregnancy yoga, I’ve met some really lovely ladies and look forward to going each week to catch up with their news and their progress. At my normal, pre-pregnancy yoga class, however, I rarely spoke to anyone unless just passing the time of day as I sat and waited for the class to begin.
It’s a great ice-breaker, being pregnant, but it’s also more than that, it’s a really nice community of people who have been through the same experience as you (but slightly different) and who want to offer advice, support and just to chat and get to know you.
It’s made me think though, why are we not more welcoming and open to everyone in everyday life? Whether they are pregnant or not? A smile and a hello, or even a compliment could make somebody’s day. It could put a person at ease if they are feeling a bit self-conscious and you never know, a blossoming friendship could begin.
And even more so, it makes your own day so much nicer and happier than sticking your head down and ignoring all the wonderful people around you.
This was also the case when I attended my first Britmums blogging conference last weekend. All the ladies (and the few men) there were so friendly, welcoming and miles from being hostile.
I am not really one to put myself out there and approach new people, which is stupid when you think about it, as I love meeting new people. It’s just that initial bit that puts me off. Although I ‘m not sure why… People are hardly going to spit at you and turn their back on you are they. So many of our fears are unfounded if we dissect them.
And I for one love a good old chat and a natter and a catch-up with friends, so why not open it out to outside our friendship groups. That next stranger could be the one who ends up being one of your besties, right? Equally you may never see them again, but at least you’ll have brightened their day.
So I spent a lot of time on the train home from Britmums wishing I had been a bit braver and approached some of the people I recognised from reading their blogs – next time for sure…
And what I did realise on that train, was that you get out of life what you put into it. ‘When are you due?’ is a great way to start a conversation, but equally there are hundreds of other ways to break the ice, and I’m going to start getting out of my comfort zone from now on and making the effort to engage with strangers. Will you join me?